BélO, ‘Haiti’s Musical Ambassador,’ Featured at FFTP’s Celebration of Hope
UPDATE: Food For The Poor’s 23rd Annual Celebration of Hope Virtual Gala has been rescheduled for 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29.
The event and auction were postponed out of concern for the safety and well-being of families in the path of Hurricane Ian.
The charity is looking forward to gathering to help the families of Maché Mango, Haiti, and provide them with safe, secure homes.
COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (September 21, 2022)
A socially conscious singer-songwriter hailed as “Haiti’s musical ambassador to the world” will be the featured performer at Food For The Poor’s 23rd Annual Celebration of Hope Virtual Gala.
BélO, whose full name is Jean Belony Murat, is known for his catchy reggae and worldbeat-influenced music and his dedication to social issues.
The Celebration of Hope is raising funds to provide homes for 25 families in Maché Mango, Haiti. The event will be livestreamed on the charity’s website, Facebook and YouTube channels at 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1.
BélO was born in Laferonnay, a village in Croix-des-Bouquets, where his musical inspiration began by listening to the rara bands that played in the streets. He said he was honored to work with the charity to celebrate Haiti and to bring hope to families in need.
“By helping Food For The Poor raise money to build homes for these families, you are giving value to people,” BélO said in a Zoom interview with FFTP.
“You’re giving dignity to people because you know the feeling of having a home,” he added. “You know the feeling of being a father and knowing you can protect your family from the storms because you have a roof over your head. As a man, as a father, my dignity comes from that.”
BélO said he’s concerned about the current situation in Haiti and wants to do what he can to help.
“Haiti is in my heart,” said BélO, who is married and has two children, ages 13 and 9. “It’s my hometown. My studio is there. My business is there. Most of my important works are done in Haiti.”
In 2005, he recorded his first album, “Lakou Trankil,” Creole for “peaceful backyard,” while finishing his last year studying accounting in college.
In a Time magazine profile, just a few months after the 2010 quake devastated Haiti’s capital, BélO said, “My music has always talked about unity; I always wanted to have a united nation.”
His words are just as meaningful today as Haiti faces a worsening humanitarian crisis compounded by rising fuel prices and crippling fuel shortages, political upheaval, escalating gang violence and kidnappings.
For Celebration of Hope, BélO will perform “Gran Neg.” “In this song, I turn it around to say being rich is not having money, being rich is being someone with a big heart, not only to give money, but to give love,” he said. “The more you give, the more you receive.”
Dr. Lynne Nasrallah, who has served as the gala’s Committee Chair for more than two decades, thanked BélO for sharing his musical talents with the gala’s supporters and helping the charity raise awareness about Haiti’s needs.
Nasrallah said the charity is more determined than ever to help families and provide them with safe shelter, despite the obstacles.
“This is a hard year, but our resilience has to be even more determined,” Nasrallah said. “Because of their suffering, we have to pay more attention to the Haitian people than we ever have before.”
Committee members include Linda Bonnewitz, Bruny and Paula Compas, George and Kim del Campo, Ben and Nicole del Campo, Josh and Katie del Campo, Marie Deluis, Mike and Dr. Desirae Friend, Cynthia Hawkins, Nicole Nasrallah, George and Joanne Olson, Lisa Padilla Ortiz, Nancy Padilla, Dwight and Lisa Saathoff, Liliane Santana, Tom and Jean Wilkes, Jean and Donna Wilson, and Holly Wilson.
Register for the free virtual event and participate in the silent auction at www.FoodForThePoor.org/celebration. The silent auction opens at 6 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday, September 28, and closes on the night of the event at 10 p.m. Eastern Time on Saturday, October 1.
Food For The Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the nation, does much more than feed millions of hungry children and families living in poverty primarily in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicine, educational materials, homes, support for vulnerable children, care for the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance. For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.
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